Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tree of Happiness Meme

We interrupt the previously scheduled installment of Lisa and Muffy's most excellent Guatemalan adventure to bring you this short meme...

I have been tagged by the crafty Carina to do the Tree of Happiness meme. I sort of forgot to do the last one she tagged me with, so I am trying to be a better blogging friend :) I am tagging these lovely people: Marissa, Andrea, Minders, Sherry and Jen. The Happiness Tree sayeth that you must list six things that make you happy. These are six of my happy bringers:

1. Beautiful weekends in the city, when nothing is so pressing that you cannot spend the day on a park bench in Rittenhouse Square reading, knitting, watching the dogs and their owners and gossiping with the other "regulars."

2. My two little furry balls of love, Artemis and Tosca. Yes, Artemis, I still love you even though you bit off the skein of Mini Maiden and buried it in my bed the other night.

3. Hamburgers...medium rare...caramelized onions...I'm just sayin'

4. My girlfriends. You all know who you are! And am including a shout out to those too, that I have only met in this electronic world.

5. The Olympics. I have been an Olympic junkie for as long as I have memories. I love the wild pageantry of the opening and closing ceremonies, the drama of the competition and the heroic achievements of the athletes. Its a big two week emotional drain for me. Boy, am I wiped out. I am also happy that tonight is the end, now I can look forward to 2012.

6. And today I met and fell in love with my friend Amy's little girl, Danielle. She has really grabbed my heart. Sorry, Jeannie, I listened carefully, but there was zero ticking of the biological clock.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chichi and the Chicken Bus Ride from Hell

or the continuing saga of Lisa and Muffy's most excellent adventure.

Chichi, emmm Chichicastenango, is famous for its large Mayan markets held on Thursdays and Sundays. We left Antiqua on Saturday afternoon for the 5 hour trip up into the highlands.

Unfortunately, we had to take two chicken buses to reach Chichi, with an absolutely horrific transfer in the driving rain that left us soaked to the skin. Our first bus was fortunately a cushy ride to break me in gently. The connection found us on a bus with people three deep in each seat and packed like sardines in the aisle. We were the tallest of the sardines...I know...Lisa tall? could that be? Well, Mayans are rather short in stature. So that put my bottom directly in their faces...nice, huh? For three and a half hours, I not only had to hold on for dear life, but concentrate on not farting in any one's face.

The highlight of the chicken bus ride to Chichi happened when rounding a curve way too fast. The lady sitting directly behind me did not just brace herself against my ass, but grabbed a whole hand-full and held on way too long. Muffy and I cracked up, she was mortified.

Once we made it to Chichi we changed into dry clothing and headed out for dinner. Lots of yummy tortillas, chorizo and the best hot chocolate.

We got an early start at the market, kind of walking the perimeter, before diving into the heart of it. The market is not just handmade items for sale to tourists, there is also a lot of commerce going on in raw materials for the crafts, like this yarn stall. Beautiful colors, but it was really crunchy.

Chichi was my first introduction to street/market food with a tamales for breakfast. What I wish is that I had a picture of the hurt expression Muffy adopts when haggling with vendors...the you wound me to my soul by over charging me look...priceless!

Unquestionably, my favorite part of our visit to Chichi was sitting in the Iglesa di Santo Tomas. Listening to the quiet prayers of families, watching the rituals of lighting candles for the dead and leaving offerings of flower petals and liquor. It was so calm and peaceful compared to the pushing and shoving crowds outside in the market.

There are more Chichi pictures here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Guatemala, Part I

I have just returned from Guatemala, where I was traveling with my sister, Muffy. She was there for two months, studying Spanish and traveling; I joined her there for a week.

It was quite an adventure, and certainly more of a growth experience than relaxing vacation. Muffy has pronounced that after this, my friends are no longer allowed to call me prissy. Are you all taking note?

The Guatemalan countryside is gorgeous. This is the rainy season, so everything was so lush and green. The countryside stands in very sharp contrast to most of the towns and homes that you see. It seems that this is a country with an extremely small upper and middle classes and an overwhelming amount of poverty. It has really put my life and how lucky, blessed, or however you want to put it, I am, into perspective. It also gave me an even greater respect for my sister and the time she spent in the Peace Corps in Benin.

We spent my first night in Antigua. This was a gentle insertion into the country...very touristy and not very crowded. We stayed at the UmmaGumma Hostel, a colorful funky little place. I had my first encounter with a Guatemalan spider hanging out in our sink. I squealed, I shrieked, I let it live. See, I said it was a growth experience.

For me, the most beautiful part of Antigua was its ruined churches, victims of numerous earthquakes. La Merced, one of the city's main churches was undergoing a renovation inside. The altar area was a blinding display of gold and silver gilt...way over the top for my taste. We did watch some of the restorers at work on one of the side altars and it was cool to see the new gilt being revealed. La Merced though was not to my taste and confirmed my love of Pisan-Romanesque churches.

There were some lovely homes in Antigua that seemed to be hiding even more lovely courtyard gardens behind their walls. I loved this orange flowering plant that covered this rooftop. There are more pictures here of my time in Antigua.

Stay tuned for part two!

Monday, August 04, 2008


An allegory for knitting my Maude...

Yup, after a rocky midpoint...brain farts, an inability to understand directions and the english language in general...Maude and I have been running joyously down the hill, arms flailing wildly, and giggling maddly.

Knitty D, darling, get over it, embrace your Maude and run headlong down the hill!

Blogger is not letting me post her pictures...booo...come see her at knitting circle.